Thursday, August 28, 2014

Schweber: rarest native species share tribal lands

Glacier National Park is the water tower of the continent.
More than 70 percent of tribal land in the Northern Plains is unplowed, compared with around 60 percent of private land, the World Wildlife Fund said. Around 90 million acres of unplowed grasses remain on the Northern Plains. Tribes on 14 reservations here saved about 10 percent of that 90 million — an area bigger than New Jersey and Massachusetts combined. Wildlife stewardship on the Northern Plains’ prairies, bluffs and badlands is spread fairly evenly among private, public and tribal lands, conservationists say.
But for a few of the rarest native animals, tribal land has been more welcoming. Emily Boyd-Valandra, 29, a wildlife biologist at the Rosebud Sioux Reservation in South Dakota, is emblematic of new tribal wildlife managers working around the Northern Plains. Since 2002, the Fish and Wildlife Service has given $60 million to 170 tribes for 300 projects that aided unique Western species, including gray wolves, bighorn sheep, Lahontan cutthroat trout and bison. “Tribal land in the U.S. is about equal to all our national wildlife refuges,” said D. J. Monette of the wildlife agency. [Nate Schweber, New York Times]

Several congressional races feature districts with majority American Indian voters: Alaska, Montana, the Dakotas, New Mexico and Arizona all enjoy high numbers of engaged Natives.

Democratic Montana House candidate John Lewis might have gotten some advice from Senator Tim Johnson (D-SD) who beat a contender by just 524 votes in 2002:
Though Native American and Alaska Native communities are often overlooked in electoral politics, their votes could decide the outcome of three close congressional contests this November. In a cycle when Republicans took control of the Senate and increased their House majority, Johnson won with the help of unusually high Native American voter turnout. The National Congress of Native Indians, which leads Native Vote, a national effort to mobilize Native voters, sees 2014 as an opportunity to engage in voter registration and voter protection, build databases to track voter patterns and encourage more Natives to run for office. [Samantha Lachman, Huffington Post]
Climate Hawk is hosting a poll on some congressional races linked here.


Anonymous said...

Wow, LK. After a shitty day at work, your video made my day. Thanks, amigo. I've spent most of my life in prairie just like this. I luv it. The hippies and Kalifornicators can have Mizoola, I'll take the outback.


larry kurtz said...

Agreed, LK: the prairie and sage steppes feel like home to me, too. Always good to have visitors, bro!